Proverbs 17:13

ESV If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.
NIV Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good.
NASB One who returns evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house.
CSB If anyone returns evil for good, evil will never depart from his house.
NLT If you repay good with evil, evil will never leave your house.
KJV Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.

What does Proverbs 17:13 mean?

As with all proverbs, this is not an absolute guarantee, predicting every possible situation. Like similar statements (Proverbs 11:21; 21:21; 17:11), this is a general-case observation. Those who do evil in response to good can expect catastrophe. Beyond the natural consequences of sin (Proverbs 14:12), those with a reputation for spite rarely receive help from others. In some cases, they might inspire others to take pleasure in their misery, instead of trying to ease it (Proverbs 17:5).

David was a good king who loved the Lord, but he fell into sin by committing adultery with Bathsheba. Bathsheba's husband Uriah served David well as a valiant soldier and an honorable man, but David repaid Uriah's goodness with evil. He arranged for Uriah to be killed on the battlefield. Doing evil to Uriah was David's intended coverup for his sin with Bathsheba. Although David experienced deep conviction and confessed his evil to the Lord, he brought great trouble to his family (2 Samuel 12:9–10).

Repaying good with evil was also the case of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem who called for Jesus to be crucified (John 18:28–30). Jesus had brought good to Israel by teaching the way to heaven and by healing many who were oppressed (John 19:4). A few decades after the crucifixion, the Romans overran Jerusalem and destroyed the temple (Matthew 24:1–2).
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